The WSJ quotes Republican leaders hoping to find a way to surrender on amnesty, and fearing backlash:
Mr. Boehner and his team plan to circulate the principles in hopes of building support among rank-and-file lawmakers, according to people familiar with the plans. The speaker aims to release the document publicly ahead of the State of the Union speech on Jan. 28, when President Barack Obama is expected to renew his call for Congress to pass immigration legislation.
Rep. Lee Terry (R., Neb.), one of many Republicans leaders aim to win over, said House leaders' approach might help win GOP support for an overhaul.
"If it doesn't lead to a pathway to citizenship, I think you will get more people to at least embrace that or be OK with that," he said. But he added: "It will still be a very difficult sell."
It is unclear when Republicans plan to translate their ideas into legislation, or when bills will be put on the floor for votes.
The new move comes as immigration advocates and Republican donors alike have grown frustrated over the House's months-long delay in addressing the issue. After the 2012 election, Republicans including Mr. Boehner said they supported a broad immigration overhaul, partly in hopes of making the party more attractive to the growing number of Hispanic voters. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill in June, but the House has yet to hold a vote.[Emphasis added]
GOP Leaders Set to Embrace Legal Status for Immigrants
Principles for Immigration Overhaul Would Stop Short of Path to Citizenship, By Laura Meckler and Kristina Peterson, January 16, 2014
It's clear that the leadership wants to surrender, but fears backlash from actual voters.
See Incompetence May Save GOP In 2014—But Showdown With Its Base Lies Ahead By James Kirkpatrick, or my recent take on a similar article in the Post: WASHINGTON POST On GOP Amnesty Plans: Donors OK, Voters Evil.
Except for some jerk from Australia, the comment thread of the WSJ article is all backlash. So, for that matter, was the comment thread on the Washington Post article. GOP "strategists" should take notice.